Hailing from South Carolina and choosing Athens as his home, nationally known photographer Chris McKay earned a couple of handfuls of ASCAP Music Awards for his solo work but had wanted to be back in a group since his days with Q-Sign, which was named "one of the best unsigned bands in America" by Musician Magazine.
In 2004, McKay and his bass-playing high school friend Frank DeFreese formed The Critical Darlings. When word started to spread, the offers for shows came. "For the first year, we never booked gigs. We only accepted invitations," McKay said. "I thought that was a great sign."
Eventually, the Darlings went into the studio to record C'mon, Accept Your Joy! Before the CD was finished, leaked tracks had garnered airplay in 3 states. Since the official release of Joy, the songs have been picked up by over 150 stations around the world (from
In 2007, the Critical Darlings started work on their second album, titled Satisfactionista, with GRAMMY nominated producer David Barbe (R.E.M., Drive-By Truckers, Cracker, Betty Lavette) behind the board. Of special interest is the collaboration with David Bowie's inimitable pianist Mike Garson (Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans) who appears on the track "Something Unseen" (which also finds Drive-By Truckers' Brad Morgan on drums).
After working on the album for nearly a year, Satisfactionista was finally completed. The first pressing of physical copies of the CD was sold out prior to the February 13, 2009 release date (thanks to pre-orders), forcing the band to rush a a second pressing to satisfy demand. Satisfactionista is available through iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and many other digital outlets.
If all that's not enough, Chris McKay was one of the first acts chosen to employ Pete Townshend's Lifehouse Method in co-composing several tracks with The WHO's songwriter / guitarist via software that produces a unique song based on data input.
With the Critical Darlings in the rear view mirror, Chris is now performing solo acoustic shows, sitting in with Abbey Road Live, and performing with a side-project called The Spinoffs. He has also begun releasing solo music such as his first solo EP, All Day Face.
Is it any wonder that the Creative Loafing dubbed McKay "power pop potentate"?
C'mon Accept Your Joy (Self-released 2005, Re-released by Side B Music 2007).
Satisfactionista (February 2009)
All Day Face EP (June 2013)